NORTH BETHESDA, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Maryland lawmakers are urging leaders of the United States Postal Service (USPS) to fix mail delivery problems they say continue to plague the USPS well after the holiday rush has ended.
In a letter sent out on Friday, the full Maryland congressional delegation including U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Andy Harris, Anthony Brown, Jamie Raskin, and David Trone, pushed for USPS officials to investigate and revolve what they are calling widespread delivery delays.
Van Hollen is among several congressional offices getting a surge in complaints from people who have gone weeks without receiving mail. Other lawmakers in the District and Virginia are also hearing about alarming experiences from their constituents.
"Packages have been delayed while mail has been delivered to the wrong addresses or not delivered at all," the letter from the congressional delegation said. "These problems have not subsided since the end of the holiday season. In fact, we have heard increasingly urgent stories from more and more constituents throughout the past month."
The delegation said the problems are contributing to late fees after bills are being delayed and are causing the hold up of checks and economic stimulus payments. The letter also states delays in delivering pharmaceuticals are having a devastating effect on patient care.
A lot of missing packages have urgently-needed items inside such as prescriptions and medications. Some businesses are also unable to fulfill orders because of delays including North Bethesda Olive & Loom owner, Ferzan Jaeger.
"We get messages all the time saying ‘Hey I bought this gift for my friend, where is it?’ We’ve shipped it months ago and kinda outta our hands," said Jaeger.
One Gaithersburg woman, Leigh Wiltison-Combs, contacted FOX 5 says she ordered 20 chicks from Minnesota. The package arrived too late and unfortunately, three chicks died in transit and another 7 recently passed away.
"It was very upsetting. Because, like I said, these were live creatures. It’s not someone package that has a pair of socks in it. Or somebody’s book. This is something that says baby chicks, please rush," said Wiltison-Combs.
Van Hollen said one of the reasons for the delays is staffing shortages. He adds USPS is working on converting non-full-time employees to full-time workers.
Van Hollen said Postmaster General Louis Dejoy eliminated sorting machines in post offices which Van Hollen is calling a self-inflicted wound. The Maryland Senator is asking Dejoy to reverse some of the damaging decisions he made.
The United States Postal Service received $10 billion as part of the COVID-19 Relief Package. Right now, it is not clear how USPS is using the money.
"Millions of Americans and thousands of Marylanders are suffering because the mess of the Post Office right now. They have it within their power to fix this and it’s unacceptable they haven’t used the tools they have already," said Van Hollen. "I think this Postmaster General needs to go."
USPS declined our request for an interview and said they will speak with Van Hollen about this matter.